Today we welcome philosopher Skye Cleary. She is a lecturer at Columbia University and the City College of New York. Skye is the author of Existentialism and Romantic Love and co-editor of How to Live a Good Life. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Aeon, Business Insider, TED-Ed, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, among other outlets.
In 2021, she was a MacDowell Fellow and In 2017, she won the New Philosopher Writers’ Award. Her latest book is called How to Be Authentic.
In this episode, I talk to Skye Cleary about Simone de Beauvoir’s life and how it has informed her existentialist philosophy. As a feminist during the forties, Simone was passionate about freedom of choice. It's not a surprise then that her definition of authenticity also revolves around self-determination. Authenticity is not about finding a true self, but rather a process of creating who we want to be. We also touch on the topics of gender, power, social justice, narcissism, and fulfillment.
01:54 French existentialist philosophy
04:05 “One is not born, but rather becomes, woman”
09:58 Creating our essence
12:46 Transcending our impulses
18:01 Creative rebellion
22:19 Skye’s Critique of Simone de Beauvoir
24:03 Authenticity is responsible freedom
27:33 Power and freedom
32:00 Skye’s background in philosophy
33:15 Intersubjectivity: the foundation of ethical relations
34:48 Inauthenticity, social media, narcissism
38:37 Windows of freedom, genetics, motherhood
41:38 Fulfillment is embracing life